Haitian comedian Gaëlle Bien-Aimé is all laughs on stage.
But the 30-year-old comic and playwright is opening up about a darker past and sharing her own #MeToo story.
Raped at 6
According to Bien-Aimé, she was raped at the age of 6.
“I could recognize my rapist but I didn’t know his name. He used to climb over the mango tree. I couldn’t tell my mother,” said Bien-Aimé while struggling to hold back tears in a video from Loop Haiti, an online news site.
“I felt suddenly dirty, and I thought that people were going to judge me. I had kept this for myself because I was very much ashamed,” she says of the experience.
Experience made her stronger
The internationally acclaimed Bien-Aimé, however, feels the experience has made her stronger and emboldened by the global #MeToo movement, she says she feels it her responsibility as both an artist and a feminist to contribute to a larger dialogue.
Especially since she has dedicated her life to combining her strong passion for theater with inspiring women around her.
She told PRI that she is drawing strength from the responses she got from sharing her story.
Experience not exclusive
“I am feeling better because there are a lot of women that have written me on Facebook. To say, ‘Gaelle, I want to talk about it.’” And it shows how “violence is not exclusive. The economic situation of a woman can vary from a social class to another but the condition of women is the same one.”
The video has been spread on social media, and it led to the hashtag, #PaFèSilans (“Do not shut up” in Creole), as Bien-Aimé and others seek to get more people to speak out on against their abusers.
Bien-Aimé, the daughter of a filmmaker and a medical lab worker, currently lives in Port-au-Prince with her boyfriend of 10 years.